Frequently Asked Questions

What is 2-1-1 Colorado and how does it work?

2-1-1 is the national abbreviated dialing code for access to health and human services information and referral (I&R).

2-1-1 is an easy-to remember and universally recognizable number that makes a critical connection, via referrals, between individuals and families in need and the appropriate community-based organizations and government agencies. When you dial 2-1-1, you will talk to a trained information and referral specialist who has access to comprehensive database listings of nearly all health and human services that exists in Colorado.

2-1-1 connects people to the vital services they need every day like emergency shelter, food, housing, rent and utility assistance, job training, medical and dental assistance, counseling, education, senior services, after-school programs and so much more all in one free and convenient service.


Who can call 2-1-1?

Anyone in need of information concerning non-emergency health or human services or volunteer opportunities can call 2-1-1 in Colorado. All calls are confidential. We may collect demographic information for statistical purposes.


Is there a cost for dialing 2-1-1 and how am I connected to 2-1-1 from my cell phone?

There is no charge if you call from a landline in the state of Colorado. However, with pay phone services a charge may apply. Some cell phone carriers have 2-1-1 available to their customers. Usage charges and taxes may vary depending on the individual plan you have with your cell phone carrier.


Can I call 2-1-1 if I need to use a TTY line?

Yes, by calling 7-1-1 RELAY COLORADO a TTY translator can dial 2-1-1 with you and can assist you in the information and referral process.


Can I call 2-1-1 if I do not speak English?

Yes, 2-1-1 utilizes a Translation Line to assist with callers that do not speak English or English is not their primary language. When you dial 2-1-1 and it is established that you would rather speak in a different language, the information and referral specialist will place you on hold and conference in a translator to assist. This may take a few minutes to secure a translator.


When I dial 2-1-1 who is answering the phone?

The 2-1-1 Centers in Colorado are staffed by trained information and referral specialists who are working towards or have received their endorsement as a Certified Information and Referral Specialist (CIRS) by the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS). These information and referral specialists are trained to assess and clarify the caller’s need, based on active listening and effective questioning, identifying appropriate resources and providing information about each organization or agency to help the caller make an informed choice.


When I call 2-1-1 why am I asked so many questions?

All the information you provide the 2-1-1 information and referral specialist is confidential. The information you provide assists the specialist with locating the services that may best help you. For example, some agencies provide services to a limited geographical area, so it is important to have your city, county and zip code. Other questions such as age (agencies vary among their senior qualifications), veteran or disabled status helps the specialist locate services that are especially focused for those populations.


What is the difference between 2-1-1, 3-1-1, 4-1-1, 5-1-1, 7-1-1, and 9-1-1?


2-1-1 is a free, easy to remember phone number connecting callers with health and human services in their community.

3-1-1 (where available) connects citizens with representatives ready to help you with your City service requests potholes, stray animals, downed street signs, trash collection or other City requests.

4-1-1 is for Directory Assistance such as local and long-distance phone numbers, are codes, and addresses to businesses. This call will cost a flat rate fee (depending upon your service provider).

5-1-1 is a nationwide number used for traveler information and is promoted by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Intelligent Transport System Initiative.

6-1-1 is generally used to report a problem with a telephone service or with a payphone. Many wireless phone providers also use 6-1-1 or *611 as a general customer service access number.

7-1-1 is for RELAY COLORADO, which is for communication between TTY users and hearing persons. This service connects those who have a TTY and needs to talk to someone who does not, or if you do not have a TTY and need to talk to someone who does.

8-1-1 is the “Call Before You Dig” number. 8-1-1 was created to help protect you from unintentionally hitting underground utility lines while working on digging projects.

9-1-1 is reserved for emergency police, ambulance, poison and fire. 2-1-1 complements 9-1-1 by filling the gap between emergencies and non-emergency requests for items like rent assistance, shelter, food, child care, and more. Several city 9-1-1 programs have working agreements with their local 2-1-1 call center.


Who is listed in the 2-1-1 Colorado directory?

Nonprofit organizations and government agencies can submit information about their programs and services. In some instances, for-profit organizations providing unique community services are also included.


Can I call 2-1-1 when my community is hit with a disaster?

Yes, 2-1-1 plays a critical role for the community during and after local and national disasters. 2-1-1 connects people with the specific services they need, relieving first responder organizations.

2-1-1 helps federal, state and local governments get accurate, current information to the public, provide reassurance to callers by responding to rumors and letting callers know where they can call for support.


Can I call 2-1-1 to find volunteer opportunities?

Yes, 2-1-1 works with local volunteer centers to connect people to volunteer opportunities, providing easy access to hundreds of volunteer opportunities within communities throughout the state.


How is 2-1-1 Colorado funded?

Colorado 2-1-1 is a private-public partnership that is funded by local nonprofits, government agencies, local initiatives, and the business and private foundation communities.


Who oversees 2-1-1 Colorado?

The Colorado 2-1-1 Collaborative oversees the 2-1-1 Colorado system and ensures that it maintains high standards for customer service, following nationally accepted professional standards for resource information management and delivery of service.